Lifestyle

The Mighty Adventure

The Mighty Adventure

Some of you may know me from The Mighty Fork (holla!), but in case you don’t, it was a plant-based street food business selling vegan hot dogs in and around London from July 2013 to March this year.
Alongside moving to the UK nearly 3 years ago, quitting my job and opening a small business were the craziest things I’ve ever done! I’m glad I had the support of my husband, because otherwise I don’t think I would have been able to do it on my own.
The risk we’ve taken proved to be minimal comparing to the meaningfulness of the outcome, to the point of wanting to further expand the business.

Unfortunately, we had to make the tough decision of putting The Mighty Fork on hold for an undetermined time and here’s why…

Courtesy of Erica Edwards

We had a business plan for the next couple of years. We wished to move away from street food and expand to a small brick-and-mortar location. In the beginning of the year, we saw a few properties, I started daydreaming and even made sketches of how the interiors would look like and laid out a sample menu for the café. Oh, the excitement!

Several days into negotiating the lease, we began looking closely at numbers and how our personal finances would pan out in the next couple of years. We drew a few scenarios, but all of them involved investing literally everything we had into something we didn’t really know if it would work out. We’re not millionaires or trust fund kids. I don’t know anyone who is. We’re young adults who worked hard all our life in order to make our dreams come true. Getting a loan was out of the question. It is hard if you’re doing it on your own with no help from investors. It is especially hard if you’re making it in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world, where rents are sky high.

Seeing all those financial spreadsheets hit me like a punch in the face, I couldn’t sleep for days. We were so close and all of a sudden, it no longer felt right. I spent days questioning what were my priorities in life and doubting everything. Will it work out? Is there actually a market for our concept? Will we be able to afford a family in the future? We were at a crossroads.
It broke my heart to know that realistically our dreams couldn’t be reached, and if we moved forward our personal goals would most certainly be jeopardised. At least at this point of our lives. So unfortunately, for the time being we don’t have further plans for The Mighty Fork.

Courtesy of The Vegan Cookie Fairy
Courtesy of The Vegan Cookie Fairy

I let this sink in for a couple of weeks, until I finally had the courage to make the official announcement on social media. I was moved to tears to know our customers held us so dearly, the support we received was immense, and I’m ever so thankful for that. I like to keep things in the open though, we may or we may not eventually return in the future. I simply don’t have an answer for that yet, but that’s the beauty of life.

ritapeterita_smile
Doing street food was an amazing experience, we had so much fun getting to know so many people and even made new friends. Looking back, opening a business was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I encourage you to go for it if that is something you aspire to do. Know that there is no right time and you’ll never be fully ready. In fact, I’d actually say the sooner the better. I won’t lie – it’s challenging but overly rewarding in so many unexpected ways and I would definitely do it all over again without blinking. No regrets.

If you have a great idea and think it’s good enough to start a business, my biggest advice would be to do a trial run so you can have a clearer perspective and understand if it would work out in the long run. If you start small, the investment will be minimal whilst keeping the risk as low as possible, and it’s a good way to climb the ladder to success whilst keeping everything under control.

How do you feel about opening your own business? Do you have any business ideas that you’d like to explore?

Feel free to comment below or drop me a line if you have any questions! I’d be more than happy to help.

Rita Correia's signature

17 comments

  1. Hey! Good to read that the reason you quit wasn’t as drastic as I was beginning to wonder and you are both well. I do have to ask though, if you currently can’t afford a shop, is it/was it not worth continuing as a street food business to try and raise that money maybe? Or to just carry on until such a time, which would keep your name known ready for if a shop may have come about? I loved your hotdogs so much! It was such a shame to read you guys had quit! Xx

    1. Cheers Biscuit! Not at all, we always had everything under control.

      As you can imagine street food isn’t all fun and games, it’s a hard, unpredicted life of which I personally had no idea of until I tried it myself. There are good days and bad days, but I what enjoyed the less was the “nomadic” lifestyle (especially during winter and when it rains!). With that being said, before starting up I was prepared for the worst but street food was always just a starting point for us, our main goal was to trial the idea and see where it went. I’m glad it turned out well and the community embraced it dearly.

      Thank you so much for your support 🙂
      Rita x

    1. I honestly think there is a place for both. We just need more plant-based options in the UK, from raw to junk food. I’m glad there’s been a shift and we have so many more options to choose from nowadays though!

  2. Before you launched I was raving about you, showing people the pictures and telling them how I would be going to London and trying them all. I live in Essex but made the trip a few times and saw you at Vegfest too (each time eating multiple different hotdogs).

    Loved your food so much and was sad to see you go, thanks for taking the time to explain why there is a mighty fork shaped whole in my heart 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Barry! I do remember seeing you in our stall quite a few times 🙂 THIS has got to be the greatest thing I took from this whole experience, meeting so many nice people along the way.

      Rita x

  3. Hi Rita, thank you for writing this article to explain more about why you chose to close The Mighty Fork. I raved to everyone about your dogs and my only regret is that I didn’t get to try all of them. The food was fabulous, you were both amazing and if you ever decide to come back in any form be sure I will be at the front of the queue.
    Luke aka Monkey Man
    P.S. I couldn’t get a hot dog the first time around at Vegfest 2013 cause they sold out so fast.

    1. Aww thank you for the kind words Luke! Hope to see you again at Vegfest this year, I’d love to know how your work with the monkeys has been going.
      Rita x

  4. Hey Rita,

    I have to say, I was really glad to hear that the reason you guys had to stop was for more practical reasons. We worried about you both! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your food. For me, being newly vegan, having something so deliciously naughty was a proper treat. I genuinely hope that The Mighty Fork makes a mighty comeback one day.. but so long as you’re both happy, healthy and content, that’s all that matters!
    All the very best,
    Sally (wifeofavegan) xx

  5. This is a beautiful post, Rita! I’m so sad I wasn’t living in London when The Mighty Fork was in full swing, as I’ve heard such wonderful things. However, it’s really inspiring that you went for your dream and made it happen, and it sounds like you learned a lot from the experience. I’ll be rooting for your brick-and-mortar store and will definitely back a Kickstarter, should you choose to go that route. X

    1. Thanks Sarah! Above everything, I’ve learned a lot. I guess it took even more courage to step back and realise what was more important on a personal level at that time, and the shop wasn’t at the very top of my list. I must say putting things on hold and having to admit it in front of an “audience” was a bit intimidating, but at the end of the day you only have one life to live and you got to do whatever feels right to you. 🙂 x

  6. You’re amazing for being so honest! I will miss your amazing hotdogs, I had them on my birthday trip to London last year and they were so good. Although they tasted pretty healthy, there’s definitely a lot more room for vegan junk food in the UK! I wish Foodswings from NY would open up in Brighton 🙁 x

    1. Thanks Christina! We always wanted to be open about it, as we were always 100% honest with the people who visited us.
      Well I wish Vbites or Terre a Terre would open up a location in London! x

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